The Last Of Us Showrunner Reveals How The Pandemic Influenced The Series

admin2021January 7, 2023

Exclusive: The Last Of Us co-creator Craig Mazin explains the influence of the real pandemic and how the Cordycep outbreak is even more dangerous.

Craig Mazin explains how the 2020 pandemic impacted The Last of Us series and why the Cordyceps pandemic is even more deadly. The Last Of Us is set in a world ravaged by a fungal pandemic that wipes out the majority of the population and has no known cure. Those infected by the Cordycep fungus not only die but are then controlled by the fungus turning into zombies known as Clickers. The original game was released in 2013, seven years before the world was hit by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the general public has a much better understanding of pandemics, although this series deals with a fungal pandemic instead of a viral one.


In an exclusive interview with Screen Rant, Mazin broke down how the 2020 pandemic impacts scenes in the series set before the fungus outbreak begins. He explained that they wanted to acknowledge the widespread knowledge about pandemics, which didn’t exist in 2013. Mazin is also sure to share how the Cordycep outbreak in The Last of Us is so much more dangerous than a viral pandemic.

Craig Mazin: Yeah, a little bit. We wanted to at least acknowledge that everybody knows about pandemics. That wasn’t the case when Neil made the game in 2013. And we’re all epidemiologists now. We’re all scientists. We all understand how these things work. So we wanted to acknowledge that we were aware of that, and we also wanted to put it in context and say, “Look, viral pandemics come and go. They’re terrible. But then they end.” This is something different.

Fungus is a funny word. It’s much, much worse, and we can’t stop it, and it was important to give the audience a sense that this was always there. It’s been there for forever. It wasn’t like nobody knew and then suddenly, blah, a Cordyceps! We knew. We knew and then a bunch of years go by, and then today is the day that the thing that that guy said would happen is happening.

Related: HBO’s Last Of Us Can Avoid 1 Common Video Game Adaptation Issue

How Real-World Events Enhance The Story of The Last of Us

A clicker crawls toward camera in The Last of Us

The Last of Us series spends more time in the world before the Cordycep outbreak. This not only gives the audience a better understanding of the characters before the crisis hit but also allows the creators to show how the world dealt with the sudden outbreak. The Last of Us creators are able to show how much faster this outbreak moves and the instant global devastation that is left in its wake. The Last of Us shows varying degrees of infection, with some Clickers being visibly overtaken by the fungus.

The real-world pandemic spread across the globe and has had a long-lasting impact that is still being felt around the world. And while the illness has had a devastating impact, it isn’t on the same scale as the outbreak in The Last of Us. While many have died from COVID-19 or had long-term health impacts, many have survived and healed after being infected. This is not the case with The Last of Us‘ outbreak, which wipes out the majority of the human population and makes survival impossible once infected.

While the outbreak in The Last of Us is fatal, there are different stages of the Cordycep infection even after death. The story primarily takes place years after the initial outbreak, but the series also shows the immediate effects of the outbreak. The fungus wipes out most of the world in an extremely short amount of time, as it spreads across the globe in a matter of days at most. The world has a better understanding of pandemics than ever before, and while The Last of Us acknowledges this, it also uses this knowledge to demonstrate just how dangerous the fungal outbreak is.

Next: The Last Of Us: Everything To Know About The HBO Series

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